She took the stage gracefully, a heavy-laden plastic bag in hand. Ingrid Michaelson threw candy to the tightly packed audience at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club and explained that the reason she and her bandmates had moles on their faces was because it was a part of their costume. For the holiday, they dressed as people with moles on their faces.
Though it was the day before Halloween, the New York City-based indie-rocker said she was disappointed that no audience members had dressed up in costume. Cracking jokes left and right, Michaelson broke into her first song.
“I think some of my songs have a bit of whimsy: buying sweaters and Rogaine and such,” Michaelson told Blast later in an interview. “I suppose I am a bit of a dark soul, so I like to make people laugh to counteract the effects of the majority of my catalog.”
Michaelson’s most recent concert in Boston came after the Oct. 14 release of her newest CD “Be OK.” “Be OK” is a medley of new material, covers and live performances of her older songs. At 11 tracks long, “Be OK” merely whets the appetite for Michaelson’s next full-length CD, which she confirmed would be released sometime next fall.
Michaelson and her band performed most of the new songs from “Be OK” with one noticeable absence: “You and I.” One of six new songs on the album, it was the only new song not performed during the concert.
Among the other new songs on the album are the headlining “Be OK,” “The Chain,” “Giving Up,” “Lady in Spain” and “Oh What A Day.”
“Giving Up” was featured in the fourth-season finale of ABC’s hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy. Other songs by Michaelson that have been featured on Grey’s include “The Way I Am,” “Breakable,” “Corner of Your Heart” and “Keep Breathing.”
“Keep Breathing” is featured on “Be OK,” which is the first time the song has been put on one of Michaelson’s albums. It was previously released on the Grey’s Anatomy: Season 3 soundtrack.
Michaelson is also known for her song “The Way I Am” – also commonly known as “The Sweater Song” – which was part of GAP’s 2007 holiday marketing campaign for winter sweaters. Some of Michaelson’s songs have also been featured on the CW TV show One Tree Hill.
“I don’t think [the publicity] has made me better or worse,” said Michaelson. “I am thankful for all the people’s ears I reached.”
Michaelson’s concert continued throughout the course of the night as her concerts usually do: lots of crowd interaction and tons of jokes, followed immediately by somber or ironic songs.
One of the night’s best moments came when Michaelson was performing “The Way I Am,” and, after she sang the first line (“If you were fallin'”), some of the audience members yelled out “What would you do?” – a joke made from the last time Michaelson had performed in Boston at Berklee College, when she and the audience made up a rap for the song based on one she had seen on Youtube. Michaelson said the moment made her feel “wonderful.”
“It meant people were returning!” she said.
After singing the song most of the way through in its rap format, she then proceeded to re-sing the song in a “fast-forward” format: about three octaves higher and about three times faster than the normal version. Michaelson somehow managed to keep a straight face during the entire “fast-forward” performance, though she had the audience bent over in hysterics.
Michaelson’s witty and moving performance style makes it seem as though she was always meant for the stage, but she said it wasn’t always so.
“I never thought I could perform my own music in front of people,” Michaelson said. “One day, I jumped in head first and booked a small show in New York City. I was hooked.”
Michaelson said that she writes her songs about “what [her] heart wants, usually” and gains her inspiration from her friends, family, fellow musicians, life and food.
Food is one of the most important aspects of the multi-faceted Ingrid Michaelson. As she told her adoring crowd at the Paradise Rock Club, she has two sides: Ingrid before she eats, and Ingrid after. During the show, Ingrid after was unhappy with Ingrid before she eats because she and the band had gone out for Thai food before the venue.
“Pad Thai is my favorite food,” Michaelson admitted to Blast. “Aside from chocolate chip cookies.”